Monthly Archives: January 2012

The 2011 Puskas Award: The Best Bits

Award

Earlier this month the third FIFA Puskas Award was decided and awarded. Named after the monstrous consumer of goal scoring opportunities and most likely Europe’s best ever striker, Ferenc Puskas, the competition was invented to award the most ‘beautiful goal’ in world football each year. It is judged on the four ambiguous criteria thusly:

  • It should be a beautiful goal. Seems obvious until you realise that statement means nothing at all.
  • The goal shouldn’t benefit from luck.
  • The importance of the game and goal are considered. So that belting volley you scored in the park is out of the running. I don’t care if it was the winner.
  • The guy who scored it can’t be on drugs and can’t be dishing out pain all over the pitch.

Highlights

Instead of showing you what the crooked gangsters at FIFA picked as the last three (Rooney’s ‘bicycle shin’ v Man City, Messi’s beautiful ‘juggle and volley’ v Arsenal, and the winner which I will show), I thought I’d show you three other contenders that were less burnt into the public’s consciousness.

Dejan Stankovic v Schalke 04 – Champions League Quarter Finals 1st Leg

I don’t give a toss that there isn’t a goalkeeper anywhere near the goal. We’ve all seen a few goals scored from the center circle whilst the goalie’s out having a ramble, but not one that was a volley, and not in the first 25 seconds of a quarter final.

That is not a bad clearance by Neuer by any stretch, and the shot may seem a bit easy to some. But they’re cynical people with no love in their life, the shot is absolutely outstanding. Truly demonstrating how well the best teams dish out punishment.

Giovani dos Santos v United States – Gold Cup Final

The Gold Cup is the European Championship equivalent to the people of the horrendously overweight acronym that is the CONCACAF region. I don’t know what Gio has done at Spurs to earn a place permanently off the field but this is the quality he is packing. At international final level.

Sure, he makes Tim Howard look like a three-legged lioness but be honest, if you didn’t know this ended in a goal you’d think he had stuffed the chance. Then comes the chip. It floats like a moth to a lightbulb, looking over the mere mortals that are powerless to stop it.

Julio Gomez v Germany U17 – U17 World Cup Semi Final

It’s a classic – World Cup semi final, 89th minute, bicycle kick, 16 year old. This should have been the winner considering the technique and the occasion.

The Winner: Neymar v Flamengo – Brasileiro Serie A

You will need to watch this one a few times to really get what the wonderkid did. After destroying most of Flamengo’s midfield with a some explosive footwork and a lovely 1-2, Neymar’s legs suddenly do an impersonation of a drunk chasing a cat that would have seen him go through a concrete wall, all topped off with neat finish.

 

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Infographic (That Isn’t Any Good): Premier League Diversity

There has been more race debate in the Premier League currently than there was about the triple dead heat that happened the other weekend (you don’t need to tell me that was poor). Even Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X would need a bit of media respite, the hacks are hitting it so hard.

I’m not here to tiptoe around the hairpin landmine field that is racial tolerance, I’m quite happy with an unburnt home, but I will indulge in looking at racial diversity. Rather than analysing at what colours of people are nice to others, let us have a gander at race in its most primal definition; where people are from.

A demonstration of racial diversity will inevitably bring up two arguments:

1) A typical grumble from a large majority of Prem fans/English people in general this. The argument goes along the lines of ‘We should have more English players’ ‘There should be a rules made about homegrown players’ ‘This is why England are rubbish internationally’ ‘I hate Arsenal’.

2) A rarer argument used by people who, for some reason, are trying to defend the Premier League against any racial prejudice. Pieced together with bits of ‘Variety is the spice of life’ ‘Think of all the ways foreigners have revolutionised the game ‘ ‘Look how well Arsenal do’.

Being the General of Generalism Army I’ll assume you fit into one of those two, and can now present you with a snazzy infographic from Visual News that will either have you frothing with xenophobic rage or beaming with diverse pride. The purpose of the chart is to examine which teams are the most and least diverse allowing us to see how inclusive the Premier League is, and it’s all in nice colours. You simpleton.

What does this pretty information mean? Well, Arsenal and Norwich have certain stereotypes for a reason it appears as they bookend the results. Some may commend Arsenal’s seemingly open door policy, and condemn the Canaries’ very narrow selection. Others may spit poison at the north Londoner’s ‘Johnny foreigner’ XI, and be proud that Norwich can find Prem quality closer to home.

It seems that the beacon of racist hate that is Liverpool FC is reasonably diverse, unless we’re talking African players, an absence shared with Bolton and Swansea.

Although it seems like a backwards competition of who has the most English players, it isn’t (Bolton, QPR and Norwich win) due to it being measured on a ratio. It can be misleading and it doesn’t really do anything useful, but it is nice to look at. Remember that anything with the sources ESPN, the Sun, and Wikipedia is a bit sketchy though.

‘Cept me.

 

N.B. This Infographic is actually really rubbish. A Canaries fan pointed out some horrible inaccuracies to me so enjoy the pretty colours and I’ll rustle one up soon.

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